Table 2.1. VIA Classification of Character Strengths

1. Wisdom and Knowledge: Cognitive Strengths That Entail the Acquisition and Use of Knowledge

  • Creativity: thinking of novel and productive ways to do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it
  • Curiosity and Interest in the World: taking an interest in all of ongoing experience; finding all subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering
  • Judgment and Critical Thinking: thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly
  • Love of Learning: mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; obviously related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows
  • Perspective: being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to self and to other people

    2. Courage: Emotional Strengths That Involve the Exercise of Will to Accomplish Goals in the Face of Opposition, External or Internal

    • Bravery: not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right even if there is opposition; acting on convictions even if unpopular; includes physical bravery but is not limited to it
    • Persistence: finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles; “getting it out the door”; taking pleasure in completing tasks
    • Authenticity/Honesty: speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions
    • Vitality: approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated

      3.Love:InterpersonalStrengthsThatInvolve“Tending”and“Befriending”Others(Taylor et al., 2000)

Intimacy: valuing close relations with others, in particular those with whom sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people
Kindness: doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them Social Intelligence: being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself; knowing what to do to fit in to different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick

4. Justice:CivicStrengthsThatUnderlieHealthyCommunityLife

  • Citizenship: working well as member of a group or team; being loyal to the group; doing one’s share
  • Fairness: treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance
  • Leadership: encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at

    the same time facilitating good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen

  1. Temperance: Strengths That Protect Against Excess
    • Forgiveness/Mercy: forgiving those who have done wrong; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful
    • Humility/Modesty: letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not seeking the spotlight; not regarding oneself as more special than one is
    • Prudence: being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted
    • Self-Regulation: regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions
  2. Transcendence: Strengths That Forge Connections to the Larger Universe and Provide Meaning
    • Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence: noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in all domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience
    • Gratitude: being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks
    • Hope: expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about
    • Humor: liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes
    • Spirituality: having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort


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